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Maintaining number 1 catering position, Apetito sales rise 16% to 206 million DM.

Maintaining Number 1 Catering Position, Apetito Sales Rise 16% to 206 Million DM

With consolidated revenues of 206 million DM, the Apetito group of companies posted a 16% sales increase during fiscal year 1990. Of the total, Apetito Karl Dusterberg KG, which specializes in manufacturing and distributing frozen prepared dishes, accounted for 184 million DM (+15%). About 80% was earned in the catering field, which encompasses day care centers and schools, factories, old age homes, hospitals and "meals on wheels" home delivery service.

By value, Apetito's market share topped 40%, thus maintaining the brand's leading position in the catering sector. In industrial catering, it continues to rank second. Management describes the retail consumer business as "somewhat weaker."

In 1990, Apetito Catering GmbH realized sales of 22 million DM (compared with 18 million DM in 1989). The company, charged with supplying social care institutions of all kinds, has been operating as a separate enterprise since last Oct. 1.

The increase in Germany's consumer price index had a marked effect on the QFF business last year. Prices for frozen catering products generally rose from 3.4% to 5%. But by implementing a variety of cost-cutting and efficiency measures, Apetito's 1,000-item product line stayed about 1% to 2% below that level.

The enlarged market resulting from German unification and impending commercial liberalization among EEC members prompted Apetito to invest about 19 million DM in 1990 (compared with 11 million DM the previous year). The outlay was primarily used to renovate and expand production facilities, along with improving logistics and customer service. In the manufacturing area, a third factory was built.

Particular attention was paid last year to penetrating the social catering market in the five states of eastern Germany. Dr. Erwin Welte, head of marketing, cited three basic reasons why frozen foods should fare well there:

* In the old DDR, social catering was traditionally highly regarded

* The kitchen installations in many institutions generally do not measure up to European sanitary or economic requirements

* Funds for new investment and efficiency measures are scant to non-existent

Apetito has already put a number of strategic considerations into action. Collaboration agreements have been made, for example, with corporate partners such as Schorfheider Meat Works. Branches in Rostock, Halle, Magdeburg, Erfurt and West Berlin have been established, along with a distribution organization based in eastern Germany.

In the social catering sector, Apetito scored its largest growth with "Meals on Wheels," a system that delivers hot food to the elderly in their own homes. Much credit went to the "A la Carte" program which allows customers to select from over 120 dishes offered in a menu catalog.

A new format for providing meals to industrial catering clients was introduced under the name "Apetito-Trend." Employees can now choose the components of their individual meals from a menu. At the same time, the "A la Carte" system for industrial catering has been improved. Offerings range from plain fare to light and exotic menus. Apetito's 30% share of total volume remained constant, notwithstanding a sales increase in the industrial catering sector.

Although exports still represent only 2% of total sales, the company sees great market potential after 1992. Favorable development in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland is anticipated. For the British and French markets, prospects appear limited to specialty items.

In other news, Apetito's legal status has been changed from that of a privately-held to public company. However, the capital shares of the Dusterberg family partners remain unaffected. Thus the company remains entirely a family enterprise. Wolfgang Dusterberg will continue at the helm as chairman.
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Title Annotation:News and Notes from Germany; Apetito Karl Dusterberg KG
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Words:594
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